Friday, October 10, 2014

Bless the Beasts and the Children

Amid the sad, horrific stories coming from Africa, the Ebola crisis and others, there are a group of people doing something, and that is trying to save the African Elephant.  The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, is one organization.  Their mission is to rescue the baby elephants that have been left motherless when their mothers are killed by poachers.  They also rescue and rehabilitate rhinos, other wildlife and attempt to stop poaching by various means.

I received, as a gift, a baby elephant, ZIWA, who was adopted for me by my sister.  Of course I know I am one of many adopters who are contributing to ZIWA'S care among others, but that is fine.  It helps those of us who contribute to our special causes to read a story or see a picture, even though we understand that we are essentially contributing to the whole trust.  Read ZIWA's story if you can.  Poor baby, although quite big now was not thriving in the relocation area and had to be air lifted back to Nairobi just in time before he grew too big to be shipped back in a small plane.  He is doing better, perhaps he missed "home."

And you may ask, why worry about animals when there is so much need in other areas in Africa?  I see this as the big picture.  If we can, we need to be concerned about all our creatures, not just the two-legged variety.  And where there is cruelty in one area, it is certain that there is cruelty in another.  David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is worth a look.  (this link should work)

 Elephants financially worth 76 times more alive than dead! - 10/10/2014 

Ziwa back in Nairobi
Ziwa, looking very thin
This article explains this in detail for those who say, "What does it matter.?"
and is on the web site.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wolves are Underappreciated

Wolves are a crucial part of the wilderness life-cycle and in this amazing You Tube video, you can see what impact removing and then re-instating wolves had in Yellowstone Park.

My childhood picture of wolves was Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs, and in some of the Russian fairy tales I heard when I was little--wolves were frightening creatures who carried away and ate little children and disappeared into dark woods.

I hope that you can access this video to see what happens when there is a balance in nature and what happens when that balance is disrupted.

How Wolves Change Rivers

Thank you to "Sustainable Man" and others who made this video.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Moroccan Jews

These two days are the celebration of Rosh Hoshana and in commemoration of this Jewish New Year, I thought this little known story about Eleanor Roosevelt would be appropriate.

Here in the United States, we have had the interesting television documentary: Ken Burns' "The Roosevelts"  about Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and their families.  Mr. Burns put together a compelling story about the most influential contemporary families in 20th c. American history.  They were the most admired and hated public figures in America.

Eleanor did so much in her life to help others both before and after her husband died.  Her enemies said it was all political, but I don't think so.  Her question of many she met, either in hospitals or other countries where she could see a need, was:  "What can I do to help?"  Because she was married to Franklin Roosevelt, she had many contacts, but many of these contacts were through her own efforts.

In 1956, Judge Justine Wise Polier came to her with the plight of 10,000 Jews who had reached Casablanca in order to go to Israel but were prevented from leaving.  They were living in camps in very poor conditions.  The World Jewish Congress, who sponsored the exodus, thought the Sultan of Morocco supported this effort, but he did not cooperate and halted the exodus.

Mrs. Roosevelt had just received the ambassador from the newly independent Morocco. He had come to Hyde Park to lay a wreath on FDR's grave and had come as a representative of the Sultan's to convey his deep gratitude for FDR's advice on North Africa in 1943 which counseled him to protect Morocco's underground waters from oil exploration after the war (WW II).  The Sultan's emissary said because of FDR's kindness and concern, the Sultan would continue to allow US air bases in Morocco.

This was perfect timing for Mrs. Roosevelt and she wrote the Sultan the following letter, July 31, 1956:

"Your Majesty:
I wish to acknowledge your kind message transmitted to me through your representative."  She goes on to say that FDR had often told her of his hopes that some day, much of the dessert land in Morocco would be reclaimed through use of water, but not to give away his oil rights as he would need the income this would bring to reclaim Moroccan land.  

She continued by saying how much FDR was interested in improving the lot of poor people all over the world, etc.  And then after elaborating on this, which is really her philosophy, she asked if he would consider releasing those 10, 000 to be able to live in Israel where they could have a better way of life, that Morocco could serve as an example to show the world they have an interest in helping unfortunate people improve themselves and relieve Morocco of the burden of caring for them.

Within a few days of receiving the letter, those Jews of Morocco were released to go to Israel.

I do understand all of the unsaid implications and that FDR did not do all that he could during WW II to help the Jews.  But for Eleanor, it was results that mattered and here it was, her direct intervention that did help.

From: Eleanor, the Years Alone by Joseph P. Lash. Appendix B:  Mrs. Rooselvelt and the Sultan of Morocco.  pp. 338-339.  W.W, Norton and Company. 1972.